Whether your company is marketing B2B or B2C, your driving goal is to convert the “merely curious” into the “true believer.” The best way to do that is with customized landing pages that capture visitor information.
What those pages look like depends on who you are trying to convert and how you define success.
Not all landing pages are created equal. This post will compare business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing strategies and offer best practices for creating phenomenal landing pages for both.
“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Business marketing models used to rely heavily on the relationships forged by their CEOs and top marketing and sales teams. Okay, maybe it wasn’t as extreme as Don Corleone’s “family business,” but think middle-aged white guys in suits, sealing deals with a drink and a handshake.
The explosion of social media and digital communication technologies has extended those relationships far beyond the conference room or martini lounge. The result is increased opportunity for conversion, for B2B and B2C companies that understand how to utilize digital platforms.
Is there really a significant difference in marketing for B2B versus B2C? Both businesses & direct consumers:
(Speaking of Amazon, check out our recent post that explains how Amazon’s amazing, rule-breaking landing page that courts both B2B & B2C customers.)
Marketers often break it down to rational versus emotional persuasion, with B2B going for the numbers and B2C wanting the emotional connection.
Is it really that cut and dry?
In today’s interactive world, everyone is looking for a connection, from the CEO to the sales clerk, and plenty of savvy shoppers make decisions based on the facts, not as much on feelings.
Effective marketing strategy incorporates both rational and emotional persuasion and B2B and B2C landing pages should, too.
The goal in both B2B and B2C marketing is the same: attract attention and make the conversion. Both require targeted advertising, secure sites, and great content. Content is where the distinction between the two starts to come into play.
MarketingProfs found that 85% of B2B content is focused on brand story & thought leadership. Remember those handshake agreements? A B2B landing page has to replace the business lunch as a place to start building relationships and establish relevancy.
The Godfather’s patrons knew him as a source of authority. In the same token, Neil Patel suggests companies claim a position of “highest-rated” or “voted #1” to demonstrate authority in the subject for which they’re advertising.
B2B businesses generally have longer sales cycles, so they aren’t necessarily looking for the instant purchase on their landing pages. According to Marketo, 68% of B2B landing pages are used to draw in sales leads for future conversion. Success comes in the form of increased click-throughs. By contrast B2C companies are vying for the shorter consumer attention span and measure a landing page’s success in increased sales.
Despite their differences, both B2B and B2C landing pages should apply the following five best practices if they want to rise above the mediocrity to become truly phenomenal conversion masters.
Do you know who uses your products or services? Perhaps more importantly, do you know who should be using them? One of the prime advantages of taking the relationship game out of the C-suites and into the world wide web is analytics.
Knowing your audience allows you to provide content that meets your landing page visitor’s expectations. Content generally falls into three categories: useful, transparent, and entertaining. Different forms of content appeal to different audiences.
As Audience author Jeffrey Rohrs puts it, ask “why are they here, how do they act?” For example, B2C companies shouldn’t try to hard sell the YouTube and Pandora audiences. They’re looking for entertainment, so give it to them! On the contrary, funny videos, celebrity stunts, and interactive games are all great engagement tools for a B2C landing page.
For more tips on meeting your audience where they are, check out Rohrs' book trailer on YouTube.
Examples of useful content geared toward B2C landing page visitors include downloadable coupons, local attraction guides, and How To videos (preferably user-generated).
B2B landing pages can also offer How To videos, but they should be professionally produced, rather than user generated.
Your visitor should be quickly and easily drawn to whatever form you are using to collect information.
B2C landing pages focused on product sales must include security information and badges if they hope to convert those shopping carts into order confirmations. Showcasing known payment options like PayPal certainly help in that regard. According to Econsultancy, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, so including customer quotes can only help encourage the sale even more.
B2B landing pages should provide authority and transparency. Highlight well-known companies that use your services. Recorded CEO messages and brand stories are good examples of video and audio content designed to convey a sense of openness and connection.
Both B2B and B2C pages should clearly identify your business and your offer. The headlines should speak directly to the page’s purpose.
Whether your B2B landing page just landed a corporate client or your B2C page sold a fuzzy sweater, you appreciate the business. Adding a "Thank You" page to the end of your landing page visit is a nice way to show it. Plus, you have another opportunity to engage them with additional content links or invitations to sign up for your newsletter.
Before wrapping up, let’s review with a couple of landing page examples. I couldn’t resist a landing page about landing pages, so let’s take a look at this HubSpot page:
The Good: The title uses keywords from landing page, nice clean design, use of sharing widgets, and an easy to find form.
The Bad: Look at all those fields! This form has way too many questions about my company – and they’re assuming I am a company. When you scroll down the page, there's even a field titled "What's Your Biggest Marketing or Sales Challenge?", which is where I almost backed out of the page. These fields are pretty heavy-handed for a landing page form. At least HubSpot let me download the guide instead of sending it to me, and collected my email address in the process.
In comparison, here’s a Salesforce landing page:
This B2B landing page demonstrates several best practice elements:
What do you think? Do you operate in the B2B or B2C space? Is there a difference between B2B and B2C landing pages? Or are we all just trying too hard to demonstrate our segmentation powers?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below or create your first B2B or B2C landing page for free here!